The first time it happened I was three
I knew not what it meant then
My uncle, an Adam, balls bare
Crouched under the shower
Exploring parts of me
I knew not yet how to name
I was only three so
He thought my memory'd fade
And his sins would be expunged
And I never told mom
We were on vacation, you see?
And anyway, how could I?
But I did tell you, my dear ex-wife.
I later tried it
with the all too eager boy next door
Behind the church
But I wasn't sure if I liked it then
The second time it happened I was six
And she was my cousin
And in bathing away the day's play
Her fingers "slipped" deep in that place
And it made me laugh 'cause it tickled
So she did it again
'Till mom knocked and said it was time for bed
I never told anyone
And she thinks my memory gone
But later that night, she showed me hers
And said it'd tickle her too if I touched
So I did
I never even told you, my dear ex-wife
I never touched a woman like that again
'Till my teens
But in fourth grade Damian asked for a
hand-job under our shared desk
While Mrs. C. spoke of the nation's heroes
And the one that wrapped the flag
around his body as he was shot down
off the Chapultepec Castle's tower
Sixteen year-olds protecting the military school from The Americans
Or was it the French?
I never told anyone about this either
I never even told you, my dear ex-wife
I don't know if any of this means anything.
But I know that sometimes I get flashbacks
When a sex scene comes on screen
Or when friends or family kiss and
are affectionate with their partners
And I get a little nauseous
and I feel uncomfortable
Sometimes I freeze when I'm touched
And everyone laughs
and they say I'm a "bad huger"
But I don't know how to explain being touched feels wrong and I feel filthy and my skin burns
But how can I say that?
When at the same time I'm overtly sexual
And everyone says I'm just a pig
And I do believe it
But I also freeze when the touch is not consensual
And I can't muster the strength to defend myself
How do I explain that my body feels dirty?
How do I explain that I can't look at my
body in a mirror?
And that I'm barely beginning to be able
to even look at my facial reflection without shame.
But you left before I was ready to tell you any of these things,
my dear ex-wife.
You left before I could tell you
that you made me feel safe enough to want to do so.
The third time it happened I was drunk
And I was passed out and out of my senses
The third time it happened was only
a few months ago and I had just turned thirty-two
The third time it happened my friends
Made me feel like I had no right to feel abused
Because I was drunk and I am a "whore"
And "that was your decision."
The third time it happened, my dear ex-wife
I realized I was ready to tell you everything
Because you always made me feel safe and I need to feel safe
But you're not here
And I don't know what this means anymore
And I don't feel safe
And I feel paranoid
And I feel judged
And I really don't know what this means,
But I wish you were here.
I hear his muddy footsteps
as he enters the room.
The stall door creaks
from the slightest touch of his monstrous hands.
I was only six at the time,
so innocent, so unaware of life's real darknesses.
The smell of alcohol on his breath
fills the room.
I am alone, alone, alone.
I cry for help, but the only answer
I beg him to stop
but that only entices him.
Suddenly, my childhood is lost
with the slip of his hand.
Today, I am still haunted by those memories.
Still wary of strangers and what they may do.
And what for?
For your instant gratification?
For your sexual release?
No more. Enough.
You do not get anything from this.
Because I am still walking.
I am still alive.
I am still that same boy you violated 8 years ago.
You lose. I win.
The first was a neighbor
I fell fast into friendship with
Until he betrayed my innocent trust.
The second was a cousin,
Someone admired and adored
Until he twisted my adoration
Into something I didn't recognize
Or ask for.
The third was an uncle,
A partner in crime
Kept close to my heart
Until he bent the rules
And my will.
My view of the world
By these three men.
Men I knew. Cared for.
Looked up to in awe.
And they used that
To their sick advantage.
Until I learned that
Love is shown in funny ways.
A secret meeting
Shh, don't tell your parents
Threats only barely veiled
Or something bad might happen
To your little sister.
And bruises left as reminders
You asked for it.
They showed me the love I was worth.
The times last year
you stole my body
I remember vividly
As that day grows near
I feel hatred growing in me
Something I have not felt
For anyone but myself
In the longest time
I wish I could show you
What your theft left me with
Or go back in time and
Lock the door though
you climbed through the window
Did you think I would have let you in?
Your confidence smelled
Of Cologne mixed with power
Your alpha hands grabbed my waist
And I have thrown up every day
Remembering how you called me names
For telling you to stay the fuck away
I still see it sometimes and I hate that
No one, not even the witness believed me
I have yet to fill what you dug when you stole my body from me
i lost my innocence at eight years old
and i wish someone would have told me that
i wish i hadn't figured it out by myself when my trust in anything that was supposed to be safe was already long gone
i wish i hadn't walked up to him
i wish i wasn't afraid to tell people that i did because i'm afraid to hear someone blame me for it
i wish i didn't blame me for it
i wish i never have to experience that awful feeling of simultaneous disgust, shame, dirtiness, and confusion again
every time i've taken my shirt off for ten years straight.
when i shower.
when anyone touches me even in the most innocent way.
that feeling like the only way i could ever feel completely clean would be to burn my skin off.
that feeling that consumes my mind out of the blue and suddenly i'm that little girl in the green and white striped skort again that didn't understand what happened to her
just that it was bad
the little girl that nobody taught to differentiate between what was okay along with the real, blunt reason why and what happened to her so any sort of physical contact with people felt wrong
i wish i could never feel that again
i wish it could be night all the time and no one would ever be around
they warn you about wandering too far from home when you're alone
about going out after dark and playing in places without people around
about the bad people, the sick malicious perverts, that you have to watch out for
they don't tell you about the good people that just don't know what they're doing
they don't tell you about the grandfather with dementia watching his grandson play at the park in broad day light surrounded by people
at least, they don't tell you to stay away from him
daylight has never made me feel more secure than darkness
and seeing people nearby has never brought me comfort
because nothing has ever made me feel more unsafe and vulnerable than that day in the park
in broad daylight
surrounded by people
Mama there's boys in my bed, they won't let me out
I cry and yell but they hold me down tight
Their faces melt together, their bodies grow big
They wrestle and fight, my blood filling their mouths
I lay pinned and fastened
I'm cold and I'm wet
Mama there's holes in my clothes
and I tried and I tried but the tears they still rolled
Rape is not a joke.
It is something that happens.
Something that changes the way someone looks at everything.
At everyone in their life.
It makes them afraid to be.
Afraid to live, to breathe, to do anything.
It takes over your life, your views of people, your memories.
It taunts you.
Even when you think you've beaten it,
it does its best to beat you.
It finds you in your sleep.
In your dreams,
it conceals itself in different forms.
And even when it isn't direct,
you know it's there.
It slips itself into everything you do and feel.
It makes sex scary for you,
even when it's with someone you love.
And it makes you feel guilty
for not being able to fully please the person
your heart belongs to
because no matter how hard you try to forget,
every time you get intimate with anyone,
you feel all the pain and fear all over again.
And you wish you could express your love
to your other half
the way you should be able to,
but sometimes you get so sick
you can't even see straight.
It might seem crazy to someone who doesn't understand it.
To those who've luckily never experienced the pain and fear or of being taken advantage of, sexually.
And maybe we are a little crazy from what has happened to us.
But it's not our fault.
It's not a joke.
It's very real.
It happens every day.
To friends, family, and neighbors.
Not everyone is strong enough to admit it,
and that's okay.
It took me many years to even admit it to myself.
But it FUCKING happens.
every breath a torch of flame as i look up and see the blue above i want to fly away but no he says and holds my wrist behind me crying blurs the sky i cannot see his hand is sliding slowly slowly down i want to fly i want to fly i want to fly just let me go i cannot speak the ties of painlovefear are tighter on my lips just let me go i want to die there is no place to go to hide to flee inside me nightmares circle vultures breeding vultures breeding vultures breeding vultures and i just want to go just let me go i cannot speak
rising pain and fear i shake he stands there looking and my throat constricts no hands just eyes that's all it takes i want to go i cannot speak don't touch me
shiver quiver fear is king i lose myself the darkness hides it all i look around at nothing so i stay huddled in the corner of my mind i want to go just let me go i want to fly just let me fly
there is no place to go he stands there his hands are sliding sliding down i want to go don't touch me let me go why can't i speak i'm screaming why can't i hear myself i'm dying why won't my blood flow i'm frozen burning dying alive inside myself his hands are warm as hell
too scared to know too crushed to flee i want to fly just let me go don't touch me another face is there smiling kindly just a devil of a different breed i cannot tell he takes me in please please don't let him near i never will you're safe with me i'm just a devil of a different breed so let me in i'll take you dear and make you feel and shape you straight and keep you safe and tell you lies as i hold you tight and touch you touch you don't break free
dead i'm dead i'm dying just let me go God i cannot anymore no feeling left i can't i can't it's woven into me to fear to lose to break i do not know the devil was so close behind me a shackle on my mind i fear i lose i weep no soaring no blue sky i cannot see the sunset and i know that feeling he is there again a standing shadow at the end of my bed kneeling over looking down i cannot feel i am not here i leave i flee i run i cannot move and smiling looking down at me against the red light i am now in hell i think i will not cannot go i scream i live i die i am not here i am not here just let me go don't touch me touch me i will kill your heart i am not human anymore you killed me let me go i will fly sometime just let me show you and the knife is twisted and i die for real he laughs i hear it as i fade no fear i'm done i'm gone i cannot say goodbye he took me stole me i will never see the light of day
i am woman
i am slave
I was young so very, very young. I WASN’T EVEN SIX! And you were in high school….. and i trusted you. I followed you and you said you’d keep me safe if I got scared. Then you asked me what I wanted to do. I said play house and then you asked me if I new how we would make a baby. and i was so young….. I said leaves and sticks and then you grabbed me you kissed me and stuck your slimy tounge in my small mouth and then I don’t remember much I don’t remember if you did anything else I don’t remember getting back to the apartment I can’t even picture your face…..I know you've made me put up a barrier on a part of my life I shouldn’t have had to. Why? I WAS YOUR BEST FRIENDS LITTLE SISTER……I WASN’T EVEN SIX!!!!!!! I’m afraid of running into you on the street and you getting your revenge that I told on you and that it ruined your life. I can’t tell people. Why would you you do this to me I just wish I could understand. I just wish i had been given a chance at a normal life and you stole that from me...why?
The magician's basement was no more glamorous than my own.
Old couches, an untouched television.
One corner, however, holds some curiosities.
Loaded dice, trick decks, handkerchiefs.
Handcuffs, matches, rope, knives.
But his handcuffs hold no illusion, only my thin wrists.
They are hard and cold like any other pair
digging in, no escape.
There was no magic.
He offers to show me a trick.
How easy, I think now, it must be
to fool a seven year old girl.
I was tricked.
He told me once that magicians love the dark.
The black, he said, keeps their secrets hidden.
He told me to close my eyes,
and when I could finally open them,
there was no more light.
He hid me in the dark with the rest of his secrets, the rest of his tricks.